Welcome! Is it warm where you are? Maybe during the summer I should be offering you some morning iced coffee? Well, whatever your poison, grab yourself a cup and have a seat. This morning we’re chatting with Liz Smith of Made in Lowell!
New to Morning Coffee? Monday mornings we sit down with some of my favorite writers & creative people, and get to know a little bit about their blogs and why they do what they do.
Once in a while I also interview Polka Dot Cottage readers, so if you write a creative blog and would like to participate some future week, drop me a line and we’ll talk about it!
Ready for today’s interview? Let’s go 🙂
How I found Made in Lowell
Back when I started the Morning Coffee interviews, “how I found them” was a fairly easy blurb to write up. Now, though, so much time has passed, and many of the people I am interviewing have been on my radar (if not a major part of my social network) for some time. Who can even remember where it began anymore?
I have known today’s interviewee for several years. We’ve been each others’ Flickr contacts and Twitter friends since the early days, and we actually met in person briefly a few years ago when I was in the Cambridge area and she was doing a craft show there. Liz is a polymer clay and crochet artist who uses the colorful properties of both polymer and yarn to super effect. I have always found her aesthetic appealing, and her pieces are some of the first that I saw to combine the two media.
Q&A with Liz Smith
I’m thrilled to welcome Liz to Polka Dot Cottage this morning. Read on!
Welcome, Liz! When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog in February of 2007 primarily to promote my new business and Etsy shop. In that year I also started making arrangements to rent a studio at Western Avenue Studios a converted textile mill a mile from my home in Lowell, Massachusetts. I was finally going to try running my business full time, (I had always made and sold things on the side of my various jobs) and I started the blog as a journal to let folks follow along on my progress, to show that there was a real person behind Made in Lowell.
Has your blog evolved significantly since you began it, and if so, how?
Yes, my blog has gone through a few transformations. When it started I was showing a lot of products I had for sale. Then I chronicled getting a studio. Then I figured out that offering a free tutorial was a great way to get eyeballs to the blog so I did a bunch of those. I also ran some posts that I thought would be helpful to other makers like All I Know About Doing Craft Shows which is fairly outdated now, but still has some evergreen content.
When I went on the Martha Stewart show I blogged it afterwards so anyone else who might go on could know what to expect. Because as soon as I found out I was going to be on it, I immediately searched online for other folks’ experiences going on live TV with Martha and what I found was so helpful but sparse so I wanted to be a resource for that.
After an intense holiday craft show season I wrote a post on why handmade items cost what they do and why that’s OK. The post went totally viral which was NUTS! I really enjoyed that. It was like winning a jackpot on a slot machine, very intense and fun and a bit disorienting.
Then for two years I had a local access interview TV show called Makers in Business (links available in my blog sidebar) which I also offered as a podcast. My blog became the primary location for gathering all the interview information (links, photos) for people who were interested in the show.
Now Makers in Business is over and I’m back to sporadic posts about things I think will interest both my customers and other sellers.
How does your blog fit in to your daily life?
I totally fly by the seat of my pants and blog whenever the mood strikes! I will admit to wishing I blogged more frequently. I don’t feel any pressure at all to be a consistent content provider, but I do enjoy writing and sharing and there are people who like reading my blog so I’d like to work on posting more often.
Is blogging something you can easily explain to your family and friends?
Oh sure! All my friends are makers who probably have blogs of their own. My families, mine and my husband’s, are all writers! I’ve never had to explain blogging to anyone.
How important are reader comments to you?
I know that it’s been discovered that social media has recently sort of killed blog comments and from what I’ve seen that’s totally true. I always appreciate blog comments but I understand they are a dying trend right now. What can ya do? If someone comments I always try to take the time to reply. But even more than comments, I really appreciate people sharing my links.
In what ways has blogging enhanced your life, if any?
Blogging has connected me more deeply to a community of makers and given me a platform to communicate in long-form the things I can’t convey through Etsy listings, Flickr/Instagram pictures, or even Twitter alone. Blogging has been a journal and a conversation. I feel totally free to post whatever content I wish with no pressure to follow anyone else’s rules. I feel helpful there, like a valuable resource to the maker community.
Thank you, Liz, for taking the time to answer my questions and for allowing me to use your photos to illustrate our conversation. It’s been a pleasure!